Fr. John Bauer

Rector and Pastor
Clergy

Serves on the Parish Council, Finance Committee, Stewardship Council and as a member of The Basilica Landmark Board.  Fr. Bauer led the successful merger of 3 parishes (St.Therese, St. Gregory, St. Leo) to become the new Lumen Christi in St. Paul, and completed their major building expansion.  Former Pastor of St. Therese, Deephaven and Associate at St. Patrick’s in Edina. 

(612) 317-3502

Recent Posts by Fr. John Bauer

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. 
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/122814.cfm

This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family.  This Feast reminds us that our Savior, Jesus Christ, was born into the human family of Mary and Joseph.  

When I was growing up it used to be very easy to say what a family was.   It was a mom and dad and any number of kids.   Through the years, however, I have seen that families come in all shapes and sizes.  As a result, I have had to continually expand my understanding of family. What is most important in regard to families, though, (whatever their configuration) is that they are characterized by loving relationships, that are lived out in care and service of one another and the broader community.   Clearly this was the case with the Holy Family.   

Our Gospel for this Sunday is the story of the presentation of Jesus in the Temple.   We are told  that to fulfill the prescriptions of the Jewish law Mary and Joseph  “took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord,”  After they had “fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.  The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom, and the favor of God was upon him.”  

There are different options for our first and second readings for the Feast of the Holy Family.  For the first reading this weekend we are using the reading from Sirach.   This book offers practical guidelines for the Jewish people of that time.  In the section we read today we are reminded that “God sets a father in honor over his children; a mother’s authority he confirms over her sons.”   

In our second reading for this Feast we use a section of St. Paul’s Letter to the Colossians.  In it Paul offers practical advice for the followers of Jesus.   “Brothers and sisters:  Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another.”  

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. In our Gospel we are told that Mary and Joseph fulfilled the prescriptions of the law.  Are there any customs/traditions that are followed in your family?  
  2. How do the qualities/characteristics articulated by Paul in our second reading today find expression in your relationships? 
  3. What is your definition of “family?”   

 

 

It’s no big deal.” Those were the words a friend of mine used when I asked him to help me install a new garbage disposal. He went on to say: “It will take an hour—maybe two at the max.” Well, several hours, and a few trips to the hardware store later, the new disposal was installed and the clean up completed. As is often the case, what had initially seemed like a simple project had turned into a much bigger deal than anticipated. 

I think we probably all have had experiences like this. Initially we thought something wasn’t going to be a “big deal,” but then it turned out to be a much bigger deal than we had expected or could have imagined. Sometimes too, something that we thought was no “big deal,” was in fact, a big deal for someone else. 

I suspect the birth of Jesus was one of those things that, at least initially, few people thought was a big deal. Perhaps the shepherds and a few others in that locale realized its import, but for the most part I would wager that the number of people at that time who realized the importance of Jesus’ birth was fairly small. It is only in retrospect, and through the eyes of faith, that believers have come to realize the ultimate importance and significance of Jesus’ birth. 

The birth of Jesus is the revelation of God’s love for us. It reminds us that God loved the world so much that God gave form and flesh to that love in the human person of Jesus Christ. In the birth of Jesus Christ, we see God’s love made visible in our world. Because of the birth of Jesus Christ, the course of our individual lives and our world has been forever changed. And through the birth of Jesus Christ, we are invited into an intimate union with God. 

Certainly to some the birth of Jesus Christ is no big deal. For believers, though, it is not just a big deal, it is an event of ultimate and everlasting importance. As we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, let us pause in wonder and awe before our God who loves us so much that he sent his Son to be our Lord and Savior. And let us rejoice in gratitude, exult in wonderment, and celebrate with praise and thanksgiving the greatness of our God’s love made real for us in the birth of Jesus Christ. 

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link or copy and paste it into your browser: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/122417.cfm 
 
On this fourth Sunday of the season of Advent we read the story of the Annunciation.  This story is taken from Luke’s Gospel.  (Luke is the only evangelist who includes the Annunciation story in his Gospel.)   We are told that the Angel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary to announce that she was to “conceive in her womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.”   
 
The bulk of this Gospel is the conversation between the Angel Gabriel and Mary.   Gabriel announced God’s intention.  Mary responded with the very practical question:  “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?”   The angel Gabriel replied: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.”  Gabriel then offered the sign confirming that this is God’s work by telling Mary that her elderly relative, Elizabeth, who was thought to be barren, was six months pregnant:  “For nothing will be impossible with God.”    Mary assented to God’s will with words of complete trust/faith:  “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.  May it be done to me according to your word.” 
 
Our first reading this Sunday is taken from the Second Book of Samuel.  It contains God’s promise to David that “Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me; your throne shall stand firm forever.”   As Christians, we see this as a prophecy of Christ’s birth.    
 
Our second reading this Sunday is taken from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans.  It is a prayer of praise to God who has offered salvation to all in Jesus Christ.
 
Questions for Discussion/Reflection: 
 
  1. Fr. John Shea is a theologian and poet.  One of his poem’s is entitled: “A Prayer of Wholehearted Commitment.”   It ends with the words:  So it is to You, that my most resounding “yes” is a maybe, and it is with one eye on the door that I say ‘Behold, Lord, your servant waiteth!’”  Trusting in God isn’t always easy.  What helps you to trust in God as Mary did?
  2. Our First reading reminds us that God doesn’t operate on our timetable or according to our ideas.   Can you remember a time when you realized the truth of this?   
  3. If you wrote a prayer of praise for God what would it contain? 
  4. Bonus Question:  Can you find the stained glass window depicting the Annunciation in the Basilica?  

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.  http://usccb.org/bible/readings/121717.cfm 

This coming weekend we celebrate the third Sunday of the Season of Advent.   For those old enough to remember, this Sunday was known as Gaudete  (Rejoice!) Sunday, because our time of waiting would soon come to an end 

On this Third Sunday of Advent our Gospel reading is from the Gospel of John and, like last week,  we once again encounter John the Baptist.   In this week’s Gospel, some priests and Levites ask John who is he.  John is clear that he is not the Christ, that he is not Elijah, that he is not a prophet, but rather a “voice crying out in the dessert: Make straight the way of the Lord.”  

I have a friend who likes to say that John’s response is an example of the “grace of place.”   John knew who he was and what he was about.  He didn’t have an inflated sense of himself, nor did he display any false humility.  John knew what he was called to be and to do, and he found God’s grace in this.  

Our first reading this weekend is from the book of the prophet Isaiah.  It shares a similar theme with the Gospel in regard to knowing one’s mission.   At the time it was written, the Jewish people were still in exile in Babylon and the prophet, Isaiah spoke to them about his mission.  He had been anointed and sent “to bring glad tidings to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners, to announce a year of favor by our God.”   In essence he was called to tell them that their time of captivity would eventually come to an end and that the Lord God would make “justice and peace spring up before all the nations.”  

Our second reading for this weekend is taken from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians.   In it Paul reminds that early Christian community --- and us --- to “rejoice always, pray without ceasing and to give thanks” so as to be “blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”   

Questions for Reflection/Discussion

  1. Can you recall a time when you “knew” you were called to do or say something?   Do you remembering experiencing God’s grace at this time?  
  2. In what ways have you prepared the way of the Lord this Advent?   Who or what has prepared the way the way of the Lord for you this Advent.  
  3. How are you called to rejoice this Advent?    

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. http://usccb.org/bible/readings/121017.cfm 

In our Gospel for the Second Sunday of Advent, we encounter the figure of John the Baptist.  (We will also hear about John the Baptist next Sunday.)   We are told that “John was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist.  He fed on locusts and wild honey.”  John’s mission was simple.  He came to prepare the way of the Lord.  

Now certainly it would be difficult to say that John was a “handsome figure.”  Camel’s hair and leather are not fashion statements.   And a steady diet of locusts and wild honey can’t have been appealing.   And yet we are told that “the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him.”   What could have attracted them?   I suspect it was the force of his personality and the power of his message.   He proclaimed “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”   

While I have never met a “great” sinner, I have met lots of people who (like me) need to repent of particular sins, as well as entrenched patterns of sinfulness.   Because of this, I need to hear the Baptist’s message.   And when I hear and heed this message, I understand anew the meaning of and need for the season of Advent.

If you have ever heard Handel’s Messiah our first reading for this weekend will be very familiar.  It begins:  “Comfort, give comfort to my people.”   It is taken from that part of the book of Isaiah referred to as the Book of Consolation.   It was intended to console Israel as their time of exile was coming to an end. 

Our second reading for this weekend is taken from the second Letter of St. Peter.   It reminds us clearly that God’s time is not our time and that God does not operate on a human timetable. 

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. During this season of Advent, who or what is calling you to prepare the way and repent of your sins?   How are you called to do this?   
  2. Sometimes messengers --- like John the Baptist --- come in unlikely guises.    Who has been a “messenger” of God for you?   In what unlikely guise did they appear?  What was their message?  Were you consoled or challenged by this message?   
  3. In retrospect, can you think of an instance when God’s time was not your time?  

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